Liverpool midfielder set to return from international duty early

Liverpool midfielder Wataru Endo is set to return to Merseyside earlier than expected after Japan's second game of the March international break was postponed. 

The 31-year-old teamed up with the Blue Samurai for 2026 World Cup qualifiers home and away against North Korea, but he featured for just 32 minutes from the bench during a 1-0 victory in Tokyo.

The result moved Japan five points clear in their rather straightforward qualification group, with Endo's side having won all three of their matches against North Korea, Syria and Myanmar.

However, Japan won't be able to make it four wins from four matches this March, with their away clash with North Korea having been postponed due to 'unforeseen circumstances'.

An Asian Football Confederation statement read: "The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed today that the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2026 ™ - Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ Qualifiers Group B fixture between DPR Korea and Japan, scheduled to be played on March 26, 2024, will not take place as scheduled due to unforeseen circumstances.

"The decision, taken in consultation with FIFA and relevant stakeholders, comes after the AFC was informed on March 20 by the DPR Korea Football Association of the need to move the match to a neutral venue due to unavoidable circumstances.

"The matter will now be referred to the relevant Committees in FIFA with further updates to be communicated in due course."

Jurgen Klopp certainly won't be disappointed to see Endo return early from international duty, especially with just a little over half-an-hour in his legs.

The midfielder has avoided the possibility of adding his name to Liverpool's extensive injury list, with Klopp praying that his other internationals return to Anfield in good condition.


Roberto De Zerbi

Luton Town v Brighton and Hove Albion Premier League 30/01/2024. Brighton Hove Albion Manager Roberto De Zerbi ahead of the Premier League match between Luton Town and Brighton and Hove Albion at Kenilworth Road, Luton, England on 30 January 2024. Editorial use only DataCo restrictions apply See , Copyright: xChrisxFoxwellx PSI-18919-0007

Liverpool will next take to the field on the final day of the month, hosting Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Sunday 31 March.

The Reds will have the chance to take advantage of dropped points elsewhere in the title race, with Arsenal travelling to Manchester City later in the day.

Liverpool managerial target Roberto De Zerbi will be offered an audition on Merseyside, with Klopp having failed to win any of his last four meetings with the Seagulls.

The Reds then face clashes with Sheffield United and Manchester United in the Premier League within the following week.

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